DC Open Doors Program Provides Down Payment Assistance and Home Purchase Loans


(ED. Note: While we’d love to provide potential homeowners with information regarding DC Opens Doors, please note that we are not affiliated with the DC government run program. If you are an agent or mortgage lender, please reach out to DCHFA directly. Thank you. )


Our offices are a-buzz with the most recent addition to DC’s home affordability assistance field. DC Opens Doors, a new program from the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), offers down payment assistance loans to help homeownership become a more realistic goal.  Unlike other programs of its kind, DC Opens Doors has a higher maximum income rate, and provides assistance to not only first time home buyers, but repeat home buyers and those looking to refinance. Additionally, 20 percent of the initial 3.5 percent down payment loan is forgiven every year. If the homeowner stays in the property for five years, the down payment loan (3.5 percent of the total loan) will be completely forgiven. With a new maximum income rate of $123,050, the program is available to both families and young professionals, and open to all areas of the city. Uniquely, the income maximum is only applicable to the borrower, and not the income of everyone that lives with the borrower. While there are no purchase limits, there is a $417,000 loan limit for the borrower on both FHA and conventional. The cap for having the down payment completely covered will be price points up to $430,000, approximately. However, buyers can still go higher using their own money.

Recently, Director of Single Family Programs Carisa Stanley stopped by our offices to speak about the new program. Here are a few takeaways from the conversation and their website.  Please contact one of our agents with any additional questions.

Explain DC Opens Doors in a nutshell. 

DC Opens Doors  seeks to make homeownership more affordable and offers down payment assistance loans.

What makes this program different? 

Unlike other programs, people within a higher income limit are eligible to apply. Additionally, every year 20 percent of the 3.5 percent down payment loan is forgiven. The loan will be completely forgiven if the homeowner stays in the house for five years. There are no purchase limits on the home you’re looking to buy, but there is a $417,000 loan limit.

Who is the target for this program?

Young professionals (hill staffers & young attorneys) who might not have significant savings but make good salaries. It’s important to note that this program is not limited to first time homebuyers.

What’s the income limit?

$123,050 is the borrower income limit, but not a household limit. For example, if two people live together and have a combined income over $123,050, the person with the lesser income can apply and be eligible for the loan.

Is there a minimum credit score? 

Yes. Borrowers must have a credit score of 640.

Are there any classes to take?

Yes. After your loan application is in, you must take eight hours of homebuyer education classes. These hours can be completed in person or online. Click here for a list of homebuyer education class providers.

How long does it take the loan to finish processing? Which lenders work with DC Opens Doors? 

The loans provided by DCHFA will not take longer than other types of loans to close. Usually, this falls anywhere between 30-45 days. DCFHA also has an approved list of lenders who have been trained and are up-to-date on all of the various types of products offered. Check out the complete list here. We suggest Alex Jaffe of First Home Mortgage 

How do I get started?

To get started, lenders reserve the loan using an online reservation system. During this time, the rate is locked. This starts of the 70 Day Timeframe.  The purchase contract should be fully ratified before reserving a loan. When reviewing for closing, DCHFA looks over the purchase contract after it has been ratified, verifies the borrower’s income and make sure that a home buyer education class was taken.

For more information, please visit the DC Opens Door landing page by clicking here. If you’d like help through the process, please fill out the form below.

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  1. Connie Melone says:

    My daughters live in D.C. I need a primary residence in that jurisdiction and would greatly appreciate any help possible.

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